One of the most common reasons why people need shoulder replacement surgery is osteoarthritis, a condition that makes joints stiff, causes shoulder pain, and impairs movement.
Your consultant may suggest surgery if other treatment options such as steroid injections and physiotherapy have not helped you.
Your shoulder is made up of three joints, which work together to help it move.
The largest of these is a ball and socket joint. The “ball” is formed by the top of your upper arm bone, which glides around on a “socket”, which is part of your shoulder blade.
During shoulder surgery, a metal ball on a stem is inserted into your upper arm bone and a plastic surface is fitted onto the socket.
You will have a formal consultation with your Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
If there are any other treatment pathways to consider such as steroid injections and physiotherapy that might be an option or if you can be booked straight in for a procedure.
On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.
Shoulder surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia which means that you’ll be asleep during the procedure. But some patients may have regional anaesthesia which blocks the feeling in your shoulder and arm but you stay awake.
The operation usually takes up to two hours.
You will be given antibiotics during surgery to help prevent infection of the wound or joint.
You will need to stay in hospital for two to five days.
After surgery your shoulder area is likely to be sore for several weeks. You may also feel temporary pain and swelling in your upper arm.
When you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home. You must not drive or lift objects until your surgeon tells you that it is safe to do so.
For guidance on pain relief and your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.
After surgery, your shoulder area is likely to be sore for several weeks. You may also feel temporary pain and swelling in your upper arm.
If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. We will provide you with a 14 day supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital.
Suffering from pain can interfere with your recovery, particularly if it prevents you from doing your exercises, so please discuss any discomfort you have with your nurse or surgeon.
A physiotherapist will visit you while you are in hospital and encourage you to move your new shoulder from the first day.
It is crucial that you continue with the exercises recommended by your physiotherapist, as these will aid healing and help you recover more quickly.
It will take some months to get the strength and movement back in your arm. A full recovery can take up to six months.
An artificial joint will usually last for at least 10 years, after which you may need to have it replaced.
On rare occasions, complications following a shoulder replacement can occur.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you must call us straight away
Please speak to a member of the nursing team by calling 01424 757459.
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health.
Your surgery will be performed by your consultant surgeon.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.